Notice an early morning jump in your blood sugar? It’s called the dawn phenomenon. And it’s very common. If you use a glucometer—or a continuous glucose monitor (like Levels)—you know how important it is to check your blood sugar in the morning. It’s key. After all, waking up with high blood sugar can set your day up for an energy rollercoaster. It’s best to stabilize it as quickly as possible, particularly if you have diabetes. From time to time, blood sugar may be higher in the morning. This isn’t something to be overly concerned about, unless it happens several mornings in a row (if so, chat with your doctor). Even if you aren’t diabetic, understanding your blood sugar is so valuable. Today, we’re diving into what causes high morning blood sugar and simple tips to help.
what causes high blood sugar in the morning?
In the morning, cortisol rises. This will naturally boost your blood sugar (whether or not you have diabetes). You probably don’t even notice it’s happening! This is the beauty of the body’s natural rhythms. In essence, certain hormones—including cortisol—signal the liver to boost the production of glucose. This helps you wake up. In turn, the pancreas releases insulin in order to keep blood glucose levels in check. Unfortunately, if you have diabetes, this process isn’t as smooth. Because your body doesn’t respond to insulin the same as most, your fasting blood sugar reading can go up—even if you follow a strict diet. This disrupts the delicate balance you work so hard to keep. Thus, your sugar readings can be quite high by early morning.
what is the dawn phenomenon?
Between roughly 2 a.m. – 8 a.m., the dawn phenomenon can occur. Some researchers believe the overnight release of certain hormones, like cortisol, glucagon, and epinephrine, make your insulin resistance stronger. And strong insulin resistance makes your blood sugar rise. However, you can have high blood sugar in the morning for many reasons:
- You didn’t have enough insulin the night before.
- You took too much or too little medicine.
- You ate the wrong snack before bedtime.
Can I have high blood sugar in the mornig if I’m not diabetic?
Yes. Although high blood sugar is the primary driver of diabetics, it also occurs in those without diabetes. This is for a variety of reasons. For example, stress or trauma, inflammation, or certain chronic conditions, like PCOS. For the average person, morning blood sugar levels can be caused by eating a high-carb snack or sweets shortly before bed. So can a lack of sleep! Even partial sleep deprivation increases insulin resistance. In turn, this can increase blood sugar levels in the morning. And of course, waking with stress or anxiety will cause high morning blood sugar.
What to do if you have high blood sugar in the morning
If you experience the dawn phenomenon—or high blood sugar in the morning—try the following:
- Keep blood sugar balanced during the day by eating nutritious meals and snacks.
- Avoid these things that cause high blood sugar during the day.
- Begin prioritizing quality sleep.
- Minimize alcohol intake and have a snack with it.
- Eat dinner earlier in the evening.
- If you’re hungry, have a protein and fat-forward snack before bed.
- Do something active after dinner, like going for a walk or light yoga.
- Check with your health care provider about the medicine you’re taking.
- Don’t skip breakfast—it helps bring your blood sugar back to normal.
start wearing a continuous glucose monitor
The best way to know how your blood sugars are acting? Wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Good bye, constant pricking. Enter: Levels. Levels helps you see how food affects your health. By leveraging a wearable device, Levels provides real-time feedback on how diet and lifestyle choices impact your metabolic health. Your personalized data can help you optimize your diet, control your weight, and reduce long-term health risk.
Levels currently has a waitlist of over 150,000 people. But guess what? You can SKIP THE WAIT! Get your CGM, today. Click this link as my referral. As someone with PCOS, Levels has changed my life. Whether or not you suspect you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic, waring a CGM will give you insight into your health unlike anything else.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Wellness with Edie! This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.